Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Sindh Assembly calls for CII disbandment

By Ramzan Chandio
KARACHI - Terming the recent recommendations in favour of child marriage and against DNA tests in rape indictments by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the Sindh Assembly on Monday passed a resolution unanimously, demanding the federal government dissolve the council for its failure to play a positive role in the country.
Moved by female lawmaker Mahtab Akbar Rashidi of PML-F from the opposition benches, the resolution was jointly signed by parliamentary leaders of all the parties, ruling PPP, MQM, PTI and PML-N.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Senior Minister for Education Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed, PML-N’s Irfanullah Marwat and PTI’s Samar Ali Khan signed the resolution and spoke against the CII’s recent recommendations which, according to them, were anti-women in nature.
In its resolution, the provincial assembly expressed its strong reservation over the recent recommendations of Council of Islamic Ideology (CCI), which according to them, was showing complete indifference and insensitivity to the issue pertaining to women.
The resolution opposed the Council of Islamic Ideology’s recommendations in favour of child marriage, second marriage without permission of the first wife and against DNA test for rapists’ indictments, terming all these recommendations an anti-women mindset.
The provincial assembly’s unanimous opinion was that, instead of resolving the issues, the Council of Islamic Ideology was creating more divide and confusion in the minds of the people.
The Sindh PA’s lawmakers, in their joint resolution, urged the federal government to dissolve the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) which, according to them, was unable to perform a positive role.
Senior Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said child marriage was against the basic principles of Islam, so the CII should avoid proposing anti-Islam and anti-women steps.
Mahtab Akbar Rashidi of PML-F, who was mover of the resolution, said the CII, which was only a recommendatory body, was gender-biased.
She said: “We, the females, should raise voice within our parties to get due role and status according to our ability.” She argued that when the age of 18 years was required to get CNICs, driving licences and other all documents, the same age must be mandatory for marriage.
PML-N’s parliamentary leader Irfanullah Marwat said the CII didn’t have any powers and authority to impose its “Fatwas” as it was only a recommendatory body. He said if the National Assembly lacked courage to oppose the CII, the Sindh Assembly would not accept its recommendations.
MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed said the government should appoint those as members of the Council of Islamic Ideology who had knowledge of Islamic laws. Later, the house passed the resolution unanimously amid thumping of desks.
The house, through a resolution moved by Sharmila Farooqui of PPP, condemned the judicial murder of former Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and paid rich tribute to him on his 35th anniversary on April 4.
Through another resolution, the Sindh Assembly condemned the attack on journalist Raza Rumi in Lahore, demanding the Punjab government take action against the culprits. The provincial assembly also reaffirmed commitment to the freedom of expression and speech, terming it a basic right of all citizens of Pakistan and urging all the members to stand by journalists and media persons.
Earlier, opposition leader, Syed Faisal Sabzwari, on a point of order, drew attention of the government towards a barbaric incident of murder of a five-year-old girl after rape in the Bheempura area of the city. He demanded the government toughen the laws and ensure exemplary punishment against the rapists.
The MQM leader asked the government to ensure setting up of forensic labs and make legislation for holding DNA test mandatory in rape cases.
In his reply, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro supported the views shared by the opposition leader and said the Sindh government would make a law soon to ensure DNA test mandatory in rape cases.
Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon suggested a change in academic syllabi to teach children about their rights.
Later, the house passed “The Provincial Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2014” unanimously, increasing penalty against the violation of motor vehicles and traffic rules in the province.
The Sindh government was following the Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1965. Through the amendments, penalties of at least 52 categories of traffic violations have been increased. They include overloading in public transport vehicles from Rs 300 to Rs 1000, obstruction in movement of emergency vehicles from Rs 150 to Rs300, driving at night without proper light from Rs 300 to Rs 500 and driving with tinted glasses from Rs 300 to Rs 1,000.
Earlier, a special committee was formed to look into the privilege motion of Ms Khairunnisa Mughal of PPP against the controller examinations of Sindh University, Tariq Narejo, who didn’t attend the her call.
Meanwhile, replying to a call-attention notice of Ms Naila Munir of MQM, the parliamentary affairs minister told the house that the Sindh government had provided wheat to 225,896 families for one month, while the similar relief would be given for another three months.
Through her call-attention notice, Dr Seema Zia of PTI sought from the government a plan to ban the abuse of infants and children on streets by beggars under extreme climate. The provincial minister said a law already existed in this regard, saying “we all should come forward to implement the same.”
Mir Nadir Magsi of the ruling PPP, while referring to a long absence of PML-N MPA Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, former Sindh chief minister, from the house, suggested disqualification of those members who do not bother to attend the session. The chair said legislation in this regard was required as currently no such law existed at present.
Meanwhile, PML-F’s Nand Kumar and others raised the issue of theft of statues from a Hindu temple in Deplo of Tharparkar and said such incidents were a conspiracy to create hatred among the permanent residents of the province.
Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon also termed such incidents a conspiracy to create hatred and differences among the Hindus and Muslims in the province. He added the government would foil all such nefarious designs.
The house which commenced at 11.25am was adjourned by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to meet again on April 7.

Monday, 24 March 2014

JSQM demands independent Sindh at Freedom March

| Qureshi appeals UN, world powers to help Sindh get independence | MQM, nationalist groups attend funeral of Mahaz leaders | Warns MQM against policy of divide and rule | Alleges establishment of supporting extremist religious groups

KARACHI: As the people across the country celebrated Pakistan Day on Sunday, a large number of people under the banner of a nationalist cum separatist group participated in a ‘Freedom March” in Karachi, demanding a separate, independent status for Sindh province.
Led by Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mohaz (JSQM) leaders, people from across the province – wearing Sindhi caps and Ajrak and chanting ‘Sindh Ghuray thee Azadi’ (Sindh wants freedom) – thronged MA Jinnah Road and rallied from Numaish Chorangi to Tibet Centre.
The two lanes of the MA Jinnah Road from Tibet Centre to Taj Complex were filled with people holding party flags and chanting slogans for freedom of the Sindh from the Pakistan. Though exact number of the participants could not be fairly estimated, JSQM leaders claimed that over 0.2 million people participated in the rally.
Before the speech of JSQM’s chairman Sunan Qureshi, who led the march, the anthem of Jeay Sindh was also sung by the participants. Qureshi in his speech blamed security and intelligence agencies for killing his uncle Maqsood Qureshi and Salman Wadho, declaring them as “Martyrs of Freedom March”. The separatist leader appealed to the UN and world powers to help Sindhis get independence from Pakistan.
Following JSQM chief’s speech, funeral prayer Maqsood and Wadho were offered by the marchers. Their bodies were placed in an ambulance parked in front of the bridge at Tibet Centre, which was used as stage for delivering the speeches by nationalist party’s leaders. The two leaders were found dead with their bodies burnt up two days ago at Bhirya Town in Naushahro Firoze district of Sindh.
Representatives of other Sindhi nationalist parties including Syed Zain Shah of Sindh United Party (SUP), Sindh National Party (SNP) Chairman Amir Bhanbhro, Chairmen of their own faction of Jeay Sindh Mohaz (JSM) Abdul Khaliq Junejo and Riaz Chandio, Sindh Tarqi Passand Party (STPP) leader Gulzar Soomro, Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) leader Mazhar Rahojo, Sindh Qaumparast Party Chairman Qamar Bhattti and others participated in the funeral prayer and freedom march of the JSQM.
An MQM delegation led by its coordination committee member and MPA Asfaq Mangi earlier in the morning went to the residence of JSQM’s chairman and expressed their solidarity and condolences. Earlier, the people coming from across the province gathered at Gulshan-e-Hadeed, from where they in caravans of vehicles and led by of JSQM chairman Sunan Qureshi, vice chairman Dr Niaz Kalani and Asif Baladi reached at the venue of the march at MA Jinnah Road. Besides men, a large number of women and children also participated in the freedom march.
JSQM chairman in his brief speech alleged that murder of Maqsood Qureshi and Salman Wadho was continuation of the killing spree started by the state with his father Shaheed Bashir Khan Qureshi’s killing over organising the freedom rally at the same venue on March 23. He termed the Urdu-speaking people “our equal brothers” and part of Sindhi nation. Referring to MQM, he warned against policy of divide and rule saying that Sindh was there indivisible motherland.
Maqsood Qureshi also criticised establishment’s policy of supporting the extremist religious groups, saying that Sindh is land of the sufis and secular people where religious extremism does not exist nor there was any ‘Sindhi Taliban’ present in the province. He also referred the influx of illegal immigrants and people from other areas of the country in Sindh, demanding sending them back.
The nationalist leader presented a brief history of “injustices with Sindh and plundering of its resources by the Centre”. He said the people of Thar were dying of hunger and malnutrition, while 28 percent of Sindh population had fallen victim to the Hepatitis B and C because of lack of clean drinking water. He announced that his party will continue following the ideology of GM Syed, who spread message of freedom of Sindh and struggled to secure an independent status for the province through nonviolent means.
APP adds: Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) will organise a three-day 2nd International Seminar `Sindh through the Centuries', at a local hotel from March 24, at 9.00 am.
 According to statement issued here on Sunday, around 60 scholars, researchers and historians from Pakistan and abroad will read papers during ten sessions of the mega event.
The inaugural session will be chaired by Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, leader of opposition in National Assembly while Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, will be the chief guest. Renowned intellectual, historian and former education minister of Sindh Dr Hamida Khuhro will present keynote paper. Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, Vice Chancellor, SMIU will deliver the welcome address.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Probe holds dist admin, depts responsible

By Ramzan Chandio
KARACHI - The initial findings of an inquiry of Sindh government has found the district administration of Thar and concerned provincial departments negligent in responding timely to provide relief aid to the drought affected people of Thar area, where malnutrition and diseases took the lives of over 100 children.Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sindh Police for Hyderabad Region, Sanaullah Abbasi, ho was assigned a task by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to made inquiry into reasons of the deaths of the children, migration of the people as well as diseases in the cattle linked to the occurrence of drought in Thar area.Sources told The Nation that DIG Hyderabad police, in his initial report, held the responsible/negligent to the district administration (Deputy Commissioner, Revenue, Food, Livestock, Health, Finance and other officers) of Thar district and departments of the provincial government including Relief, Food, Health, Finance and others for delaying response in indicating the calamity as well as giving timely help to the people.  When contacted, Hyderabad police DIG Sanaullah Abbasi, via phone, told The Nation that he has submitted the initial report. He said he had conducted the interviews of provincial and district departments’ officers, lower cadre employees, local people, social scientists, researchers, who were working in the field, and then reached at a conclusion.It is expected that Sindh government will submit the same report before the Supreme Court and Sindh High Courts’ benches, which are hearing the Thar drought issue in their suo moto petitions.The social scientists and researchers are criticising the Sindh government for its role in poor response to the permanent problem of the Thar drought where people along with their cattle left their homes and settled in irrigated areas of the province in search of livelihood. But the government does not provide water to the Thar people with permanent solution to their doorsteps, who depend on the wells or to wait for rains.Meanwhile, the situation has not changed as drought affected people are still waiting for food and medicines in open sky but the Sindh government is just making tall claims of initiating mega projects in the Thar area.The director general of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has claimed that the relief activities in the drought hit district of Tharparkar were continued for the last more than 11 days. The relief activities have also been expanded to other districts including Umerkot, Sanghar and Khairpur where red alert of famine has been issued by the Sindh government.On the directives of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Sindh government had installed 120 reverse osmosis water filtration plants in Tharparkar of which each plant was providing 200,000 gallons of potable water to the people of Tharparkar, he claimed. Sindh government was carrying out work on additional 190 water schemes for drinking and irrigation purposes. The work on 54-kilometre-long water pipeline from Lonikot to Nangarparkar was being laid with accelerated pace with preliminary cost of Rs540 million.He said since he had also been elected from Tharparkar and during his time, major steps were taken for bringing improvements in lives of people of Tharparkar. Small dams were constructed, reverse osmosis water filtration plants were installed and 190 water schemes were under construction. Measures for irrigation and fodder for livestock were also taken. Reverse osmosis plants were also being installed at around 643 villages in Tharparkar while extra steps were being taken for electrification of far flung areas of Tharparkar through solar energy.The minister said the Sindh government was working on a variety of projects. The relief and rehabilitation works were in full swing in drought-hit Tharparkar especially supply of pure potable water, milk and other nutritious food for children and mothers and other edible commodities especially wheat and rice. The Tharparkar Development Authority was also established with plans to initiate major projects for employment, trade facilities, water for drinking and irrigation and health sectors.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Pak-India social media mela a model of democracy

 July 14, 2012


KARACHI - The two-day second Pak-India Social Media Mela 2012 began here in city with a discussion to further enhance interaction among the people of two countries through this new phenomenon of social media.
The social media mela is being hosted by the US Consulate General of Karachi and Lahore in collaboration with a NGO ‘Peace Niche’.The Karachi-based Consul General William Martin’ who was the chief guest on the occasion’ inaugurated the conference. With more than 200 participants, about a dozen social media celebrities from India and 13 from Pakistan are taking part in the event as key note speakers. The social media activists hail from the cross-sections of the society, including media, show-biz’ media’ communication’ entrepreneurs’ education’ literature’ sports as well as government departments and the United Nations Development Programme.
Martin expressed hope that the internet connection and computer would greatly help in demonstrating sophisticated communication skills in speaking out against corruption’ human rights violation and violent extremism.He appreciated the mela and called it a ‘Model of Citizen Democracy’ and expressed hope that its participants will play their effective role in further strengthening peace and prosperity in the region.
A festival of idea and action, the 2012 Pakistan-India Social Media Mela will nurture dialogue and critical engagement with entrepreneurs, journalists, activists, writers, comedians, musicians and others, US CG said, adding the event will encourage the practitioners and novices alike to explore the creative arts, contemplate the changing face of media and politics, marvel at pop culture, highlights activists’ success, gain insights on crowd-funding, debate the virtues of slacktivism, and demystify the business of social media.
US CG further says, ‘in many ways, it was only natural that this year’s event would be focused on India and Pakistan. I have been heartened to see a strengthening of ties between the two great countries, between business people and ordinary people. As the exchange of physical good through trade has steadily increased, a corresponding increase in digital and virtual exchange is also happening’. He opined that internet penetration rates are roughly equal in both the countries, most internet users trend to be young and urban, with tremendous room for growth rural areas. There are countless common interests and opportunities that support social media bridges among the people of two countries.
The US CG further said that his country also support stronger ties, people-to-people contact, commercial ties, political ties and blogger ties are absolutely essential for the long term peace and prosperity of not just India and Pakistan, but for the entire region. The world need an economically thriving and stable Pakistan just as much as an economically thriving, stable India, he concluded. He said that despite the disregard in policies, but it was the power of social media, which connects the people of two countries.
Meanwhile, various interactive sessions on different topics ranging from media, music, comedy and education to success stories of social media were highlighted by the speakers with question-hour sessions.
During the session ‘Pakistan and India- Bridging the trust deficit’, she talked through Skype and underlined the need for bringing easiness in the visa regime between two countries.She said that people of two countries share common culture and problems, so they must had freedom to meet and interact with each other.
Pakistani journalist Beena Sarwar highlighted different initiatives taken for bringing the people of two countries together. She said that a social media petition is being prepared, which through which people of two countries will press on the respective countries to bring softness in the visa regime.
Speaking in a session ‘All the world’s a stage: The rise of Viral Video’, Ali Gul Pir, a comedian and writer said that the Sindh’s culture was represented by the Sindhi topi, it was in our hearts. He said that the song ‘Waderay ka beta’ was not aimed at disregarding the Sindhi culture but to expose the feudal mindset. He further said that Sindhi had no any connection with terrorism as there is no any Osama Bin Chandio in the province. Ali Aftab, who created Begherat Birgade, said that he is preparing a video song, which will create upheaval in the country soon.
Saba Haji, who has come from India Kashmir, highlighted the power of social media, through which she has been running a public school.
This news was published in print paper. Access complete paper of this day.



Ramsey Clark urges efforts for ensuring justice to Dr Aafia

By: Ramzan Chandio 

| August 28, 2012 

KARACHI - Opposing the American government’s war on terrorism, the former US attorney general Ramsey Clark has said that the drone attacks are a blatant violation of international law and spawned violence.

The US statesman, who is known for his opposition to wars since his younger days, called for efforts to resolve issues through dialogue “as violence begets violence, as witnessed in the present war on so-called terror in Afghanistan”.
He made these remarks at a function – arranged on Monday at the Karachi Press Club under the umbrella of Pakistan America Democratic Forum (PADF) – to confer ‘Maulana Zafar Ali Khan Journalist of the Year Award 2012’ on The Nation Editor Salim Bokhari. Clark presented the award to the veteran journalist.
In his brief speech, the American lawyer said Dr Aafia Siddiqui was a victim of injustice “because we don’t have the capacity to stand against it”.
Clark, who met the mother of Dr Aafia at her residence, said that Aafia was kidnapped from Pakistan and sentenced in the United State and she should be allowed to return to her home country immediately.
The former top law official of the US also urged the public to stand up against the injustices being done to the Aafia and press on the Pakistani government to act.
“We should speak clearly and honestly against her imprisonment. We are living in world of danger and we must have courage to fight and argue against the injustices being meted to Dr Aafia Siddiqui… If there would be no rule of law there would not be any peace,” he opined. Earlier, Salim Bokhari thanked the organisers for conferring him with the prestigious international award – that too by such a distinguished person as Mr Ramsey Clark.
“Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was an intrepid fighter for the freedom of India from the British, establishment of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India, and freedom of press,” Bokhari said. “Without him (Maulana), journalism would have been poorer,” he added.
He also praised Clark by describing him as a crusader for truth and an international activist against injustice. Clark’s role as an anti-Vietnam war activist still lives on both in the minds of those who suffered and those who mindlessly advocated it, he added.
Bokhari said the people of Pakistan and the region were conscious of Clark’s opposition to the war on terror and his efforts to have President Bush impeached.
He added that Clark courageously defended Saddam Hussain in his trial before Iraq’s special tribunal, maintaining that it failed to respect basic human rights and that it was illegal because it had been initiated as a consequence of the United States’ aggression against the Iraqis.
Clark also denounced the use of depleted uranium, a substance causing chemical pollution in the Iraq’s environment, which had left deep scars on the Iraqi population, The Nation editor concluded.
Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, the chief of Dr Aafia Freedom Movement, thanked the media for highlighting the issue of her sister. She said Dr Aafia Siddiqui Freedom Movement Award would soon be launched for journalists.
Earlier, the PADF also passed a resolution, which stated that the Pakistani Upper House of the Parliament unanimously passed a resolution on February 23, 2010, reflecting entire nation’s collective demand that the government should adopt all legal and diplomatic measures to seek Afia’s return to Pakistan.
The resolution further said Zardari government had not only been negligent in pursuing the moral and legal duties, but also its new ambassador had initially refused to issue a visa to Clark – a great friend of Pakistan and a known benefactor of the Bhutto family.
The resolution demanded that the Pakistani parliament must immediately convene a hearing on the basis of Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri’s recent confession and the government must launch a new multi-pronged diplomatic initiative to negotiate Dr Aafia’s release.
This news was published in print paper. Access complete paper of this day.
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/national/28-Aug-2012/ramsey-clark-urges-efforts-for-ensuring-justice-to-dr-aafia Share

Friday, 19 October 2012

‘Sindh an indivisible constituent state’

| May 30, 2012 
KARACHI-Rejecting the call for creation of new provinces, the federal, nationalists and religio-political parties of the country at a national moot here declared that Sindh was an indivisible constituent state of the country. It has surrendered certain powers to the federation under an agreement to manage the affairs of country in just and fair manner.
Titled ‘Sindh Solidarity Conference’, the moot was organised by the Sindh United Party, a nationalist group of Sindh, here at a local hotel, which was attended by the leaders and representatives of almost all the political parties except ruling coalition of PPP, MQM and PML-Q.  
The event was organised in the backdrop of graffiti and processions for so-called Mohajir province in Karachi, which was condemned by all the participants and held responsible the ruling coalition of PPP and MQM for such hatred material and slogans.
Leaders and representatives of about 20 federal, nationalists and religio-political parties including PML-N, PML-F, Awami National Party, National Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamiat Ulema Islam (Fazlur Rehman), Jaamat-e-Islami, Sunni Tahreek, PPP-SB, Punjab Pakhtun Ittehad, Karachi City Alliance, National Party, Sindh Tarqi Passand Party, Awami Tehreek, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mohaz (JSQM), Jeay Sindh Mohaz, and others participated in the conference and shared their views.
A joint declaration was issued by all the participant parties, which said that ruling alliance of PPP and MQM has conspired again and again to pave the way for divisiveness, lawlessness and terrorism in Sindh.
“We strongly believe that Sindh is an indivisible constituent state of the country and has surrendered certain powers to the federation under an agreement,” declared the conference. However, the Sindh province has got a raw deal at the hands of successive rulers and the present ruling coalition has destroyed its political, economic, social and cultural fabric, added the declaration.
Criticizing on the present government, the joint declaration of the conference further said that for the sake of its power and financial interests, the present ruling coalition has torpedoed the sacred unity of Sindh by raising the bogy of Southern Sindh province, adding, ironically, in southern region of the province the very boggy of so-called Muhajir province is not only ridiculous but baseless, self serving and self-defeating.
In the joint declaration, the participants of the moot further alleged that as soon as the general elections are approaching near, the ruling coalition of PPP and MQM is conspiring to divide the people on the basis of language and ethnicity in the country in order to fulfill their goals.
The conference condemned the conspiracies being hatched against the sacred unity of Sindh and vowed to fight such nefarious designs with full might of the people of Sindh.
The participants of the conference while adopting the resolutions held the PPP and MQM responsible for the attack on the ‘Mohbat-e-Sindh Rally’ on May 22 in city, demanding for arrests of terrorists and tried in the anti-terrorism courts, besides families of the victims must be adequately compensated.
The multi-conference speakers came hard on MQM, demanding for ban on it. 
The conference demanded to implement the verdict of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit and delimitation of constituencies in Karachi affording representation to all sections of population particularly indigenous people of Sindh.
The participants also demanded for complete deweaponizaton in city.
In his presidential address, chief of SUP Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, who was host of the event, said that majority of the Urdu speaking people believed that they are Sindhi, but some who called themselves as Mohajir, should  learn from others.
Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, provincial president of PML-N in his speech said that Sindh was the guarantee of the sovereignty of Pakistan. He termed the Sindh province is an indivisible federating unit of Pakistan, so talking of dividing Sindh mean to break the Pakistan.
PML-N’s Sindh President further said that his Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif had rejected the Kalabagh Dam as controversial project was harmful for Sindh.
ANP Sindh President Senator Shahi Syed said that Punjab, Pakhtuns, Balochs, Urdu-speaking and others communities living in Sindh, who treated Sindh as motherland, but few people in the name of Mohajir calling for division of Sindh, which is ashamed and unacceptable. He said that indigenous Sindhis are owner of the Sindh, no one other have right to claim of it. He added that we should be thankful of indigenous Sindhis, who allowed us to live here. He underlined the need for deweaponisaton drive in Karachi.
NPP chief Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi said that there would be no place for those who called themselves as Mohajir and want division of Sindh. 
JUI-F leader Khalid Mehmood Soomro said that people of Sindh are ready to resist and fight with the people who were sloganeering to divide Sindh.
Human Right Activists and former law minister Iqbal Haider said that Urdu speaking are Sindhis and will never think of division of Sindh. He said that Mohajir province was a political slogan, so ethnic parties want to get benefit of it, but igniting of this slogan will led in harming of majority of Urdu speaking who living in interior parts of the province. STPP Chief Qadir Magsi said that we will not tolerate talks of division of Sindh. He warned the people who sloganeering of Mohajir province do not cross the limit otherwise it will result in bloodshed in Sindh.
Dr Malik Baloch of NP, PPP MNA Zafar Ali Shah, JI Sindh Chief Asadullah Bhutto, JSQM chief Niaz Kalani, PTI Sindh Chief Nadir Akmal Leghari and others also spoke on the occasion.
This news was published in print paper. Access complete paper of this day.


Free state land not free from jaws of feudal lords

By: Ramzan Chandio 

September 03, 2012 

KARACHI - As the provincial government of ruling PPP in planning to start second phase of distribution of state land among landless farmers, most of the women beneficiaries of this programme are already facing legal cases since they got the ownership documents of the land in 2009, TheNation learnt on Sunday.
Some of the women beneficiaries are facing multiple cases as local landlords filed appeals against the allotment, which are causing hardship for them to get possession of the land in some areas of province. In some cases, one woman is facing four to five appeals filed by the influential landlords against the grant of land to her.
When contacted, Project Director of Sindh Government’s Land Distribution Programme Faisal Ahmed Okeli confirmed to TheNation that the litigation problems being faced by the women beneficiaries of government’s programme as ‘serious’ issue.
Acknowledging the problem, the provincial government has initiated programme to provide legal support to women allottees of government land through women development department, he said  In some cases, he added that the local landlords also filed appeals in Revenue Department, challenging the allotments to the applicants and claimed that the land belong to their forefathers.
It may be noted that PPP-led Sindh government so far distributed about 65,000 acres government land among the landless farmers (16 acres land allotted to each allotee free of cost), of which over 70percent beneficiaries were women farmers. But most of the women beneficiaries are still facing legal cases in revenue and district authorities filed by the local landlords against the allotment.
Faisal Okeli opined that the present litigation system was problematic, especially for poor women farmers, who did not know about the system. He said that the second phase which supposed to be stated from 2011 but it has been delayed to devastative floodwaters and rains in the province. However, Faisal Okeli said that the he has sought the data of the state land from the district governments and some districts are yet to provide such figures of government land for distribution among the women farmers free of cost.
He said that after receiving all data of land available, the Sindh government will invite the applications from deserving women farmers through advertisement in local and national newspapers, so that land could be distributed through transparent manner. He said that after receiving applications and their investigation, the government will start distribution of land through ‘Open Katchahries’.
Meanwhile, Sikandar Birohi, Director of Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI) while talking to TheNation said that taking advantage of flaws and loopholes in the legal provisions, landlords are constantly engaging the poor women beneficiaries in litigations by filing frequent appeals. These litigations prolong the occupation of landlord on occupied land. Sikandar Birohi, whose organisation is closely working on study of litigation and problems being faced by the beneficiaries, said that the litigation cases have also taken new turn and are creating more and more difficulties for the women land grantees. For example, in majority cases one land grantee women faces more than one appeal. There are many examples which show that one woman is facing four to five litigation cases / appeals against on the grant of same land, he added.
Similarly, in many cases once the women land grantees have won their cases, the opponent parties have challenged such verdict of district level Revenue Department official at provincial level in the Revenue Court of Senior Member Board of Revenue. The court of Senior Member Board of Revenue is situated in Hyderabad city, the central district of Sindh province. This is creating more hurdles for the land grantees as this office is at the distance of 100km to 700 km from different districts. The travel from their respective district to the Court of Senior Member BOR is one of the greatest challenges for the poor women, therefore, in such cases, the percentage of the women land grantees appearing in the court is minimal, which gives advantage to the opponent party to win the case.Sharing the flaws in law, he said that according to the Colonization of State Land Act under which the distribution of government land takes place, even if land is distributed among the landless peasants after a process of proper scrutiny by the Revenue Department, still any one has right to challenge grant of any piece of land to any grantee making ownership claim on the granted land.
This basic flaw in the legal framework has opened the floodgates of “appeals’ against the distribution of land among landless women in Sindh, he argued. He added the appeals started pouring in with the beginning of the distribution of land among the landless in September 2008. There was no mechanism with the government to provide legal support to women land grantees against those appeals. As per the provisions of Colonization of State Land Act, District Officer of Revenue Department has magisterial powers to hold hearings of these cases and issue his verdict in favour of either party. Stricken by extreme poverty, the women land grantees are usually unable to face such cases by visiting the Revenue Court in multiple hearings till the case is disposed of.He pointed out that there is no record of the land with any government department including the Revenue Department and Land Distribution Program Unit about grantee women facing appeals against them.
However, the field visits to different districts and interviews with the land grantees show that litigation against women in the form of appeals against them is the main issue being faced by women. He advised the government that such exploitation of legal provision can only be avoided by establishing a ‘Legal Support Cell’ specifical1y for women beneficiaries mandated with providing required legal support for timely responding the appeals made by landlords, he said, adding that administratively, the proposed Legal Support Cell should be established in Board of Revenue Karachi for collecting the data of such cases against women and providing them legal support. The legal cell can function from Karachi by establishing its legal committees of the lawyers available in all the districts of Sindh, he concluded.
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